Straight Line Arrival - Glass Bones (Cover Artwork)

Straight Line Arrival

Glass Bones (2017)


I have done my best to focus my efforts on albums that have been released recently, being one of the only reviewers writing about the Folk Punk scene, but this album by Straight Line Approval is new to me, and I couldn’t help myself but to get something written on it. I was passed a CD-R by a buddy in the scene, saying “You’ve gotta check this guy out.” So, I did, and was blown away. While the album I was passed was his newer album, I had to go listen to his entire discography, and was lucky enough to find Glass Bones.

Glass Bones is not your traditional “Folk Punk” album, as it includes more than just acoustic instrumentation, but excluding a few random placements of more traditional instrumentation, this is a perfect example of what created my obsession with this scene that is exploding from basements to traditional venues, and gaining more and more momentum with each day. Skyler Husebye, coming out of North Dakota, produced a gem of a DIY record, despite his place of residence (literally the middle of nowhere). He had some help from Daymon Ryan (HappyHappy), and Jordan Rittus (Far Flowers), but the album is very much his creation.

Every track has something special regarding it, but track three “Houses” brings in a very common theme in this genre: the thought that life is short, and we should do the most of what we have. “It’s a shame that we’re living on borrowed time” ends the song, sung repeatedly, in a raw and beautiful manner, with nothing but acoustic guitar to support the lyrics, but honestly, nothing else was needed.

The moment it finishes, you’re thrown into “Stuffed Elephants” an upbeat, traditional sounding Folk Punk tune, that gets your feet tapping, and displays exactly what SLA is doing to build a name for themselves, despite, again, coming from the middle of nowhere. The harmonica during the bridges and the end, add a layer of enjoyment, as it elevates the musicality to the level of the lyrical genius that generally steals the show.

The final track “Wanderlust”, beginning with the lyrics “If life is a parody of human existence / smiling is proof of our stubborn persistence” leaving the album with some bit of hope that, despite our lives moving closer to the end in every moment, that we can do something good with the time we have. This scene is often married to the idea that we’re heading for a bleak end to humanity, but Sky does a great job of summing up the rest of the album by giving us a glimpse of hope, despite ending the song with the repeated “Nothing Changes” chant. I may be misinterpreting his intentions, but I felt he was challenging me to make change, since nothing changes if we don’t change it.

SLA has already released a follow-up to this album, which is amazing in its own right, but I felt like this album needed to be given its proper attention, especially with a new album coming before the year ends. And, SLA is yet another band that will be headlining at Folk Shit Up 2020, and they will remain on my radar to see just how far he can take his special interpretation of this growing genre, that ranges from thrashy and speedy to slower and clean. I see SLA being one of the bigger names in the genre if they keep up this kind of work.